Citing fire risks, county to ban all fireworks in unincorporated areas

Supervisors will later consider creating special zones for gentler fireworks for fundraisers and July 4th celebrations.

San Benito County Supervisors are set on August 10 to ban all fireworks in unincorporated areas as a fire safety measure in severe drought.

A second and final review of an Aug. 10 order would ban pyrotechnics and violators from a fine of $ 1,000 for first offenses and $ 2,500 to $ 5,000 for repeated use.

Fireworks threaten to start wildfires, supervisor Bob Tiffany said in a July 29 meeting when the board voted 3-0 to finalize the order next week.

“It almost becomes a problem throughout the year, so we are convinced that we have to do something,” said Tiffany, referring to the use of fireworks months before and after the day of the day. ‘independence.

According to National Integrated Drought Information System, 2021 ranks 33rd of the driest in 127 years in San Benito County. In addition, the county now faces extreme drought conditions and part of the southeastern border is experiencing exceptional drought.

Charlie Bedolla, acting chief of the Hollister Fire Department, said he supports the ban because it is easier for agencies to enforce non-use of all fireworks rather than some types. The department has a contract to fight fires outside of city limits in the county.

“People just get creative in finding ways to be untraceable when they light them,” Bedolla said of the illegal fireworks.

Bedolla said Hollister fined 26 people $ 1,000 and San Juan Bautista had between three and five administrative citations pending. The sheriff’s department has arrested a San Juan Bautista resident who lit fireworks in a park washroom, Bedolla said.

Tiffany said she realized that sales of “safe and sane” fireworks, those that are no taller than 15 feet, are a major source of fundraising for nonprofits around July 4.

San Juan Bautista forbids lighting safe and healthy fireworks within his city limits without council approval, although he allows its sale.

Bedolla suggested possibly identifying spaces, such as the airport, where families can safely light safe and healthy fireworks. One or more fireworks could be organized to allow families to enjoy the July 4 vacation, he said.

Supervisor Peter Hernandez was absent from the July 29 board meeting.

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